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Im an Army veteran, and my benefits are too generous (You knew they'd get to this)
The Washington Post ^ | June 6, 2014 | Tom Slear

Posted on 06/08/2014 6:29:27 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Tom Slear, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 2001, is a freelance writer in Annapolis.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a receptionist in a physical therapist’s office that I was covered by Tricare, the military’s health-care program for service members, retirees and their families. (It has nothing to do with the troubled Veterans Affairs hospital system.)

“Good deal,” I said.

“You deserve it,” she responded.

Really? If she only knew.

Though I spent more than five years on active duty during the 1970s as an Army infantry officer and an additional 23 years in the Reserves, I never fired a weapon other than in training, and I spent no time in a combat zone. I returned to active duty for five months in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, but I was assigned to the Pentagon. My hazardous duty consisted of a daily drive on New York Avenue before its upgrade.

I am hardly unique. Despite the extended operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly half of the 4.5 million active-duty service members and reservists over the past decade were never deployed overseas. Among those who were, many never experienced combat....

(Excerpt) Read more at m.washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: military; pentagon; tricare; veterans
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 06/08/2014 6:29:28 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nobody is forcing her to accept those benefits or use the VA, are they?


2 posted on 06/08/2014 6:31:37 PM PDT by digger48
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The media has launch a full scale attack against our military.

LA Times Columnist suggests Tahmooressi was gearing up for mass murder

http://twitchy.com/2014/06/08/la-times-columnist-suggests-tahmooressi-was-gearing-up-for-mass-murder/?utm_source=autotweet&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=twitter


3 posted on 06/08/2014 6:31:58 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: digger48

oops...”he”


4 posted on 06/08/2014 6:32:53 PM PDT by digger48
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To: cripplecreek

3 guns and 400 rounds.

Ain’t even a good day at the range


5 posted on 06/08/2014 6:35:11 PM PDT by digger48
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Tom, make your personal guilt trip reparations check out to: Department of the US Treasury. Make sure you calculate every single dime of retirement and associated military benefits into that payback, so you can live with a clear conscience.


6 posted on 06/08/2014 6:36:02 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There is always one slacker in any group.


7 posted on 06/08/2014 6:37:32 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My history is similar...active duty 80-84, reserves 84-00, active duty again 00-03, retired from the reserves in 04; I’m not yet eligible for retired pay. I will receive a generous amount of retired pay plus other bennies that I worked for. No, I didn’t deploy to either Iraq of Afghanistan but I was on a short list to go shortly after 9/11. Luck of the draw.

I don’t begrudge he author for saying that his bennies (and by extension mine) are too generous but I’d respectfully disagree. If you want a military that people will want to join, you have to provide competitive pay and bennies in wartime and in peacetime. Yes, people do need to understand the risks inherent in military service but they should be appropriately compensated.


8 posted on 06/08/2014 6:37:41 PM PDT by 22202NOVA (<Insert pithy, sardonic comment here.>)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Try it on a Chief’s retirement.

Friggen LtCol. Give me a break.


9 posted on 06/08/2014 6:37:49 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Its my freedom. YES. I will be keeping it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"They also serve who only stand and wait."



America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!

O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here, obedient to their command.

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

10 posted on 06/08/2014 6:37:53 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Mlichael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

When I got “out” after my active USMC service in 1968, the last thing I ever considered was to use anything - anything - involving the military, which of course included VA hospitals or medical.


11 posted on 06/08/2014 6:38:35 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (It ain't a "hashtag"....it's a damn pound sign. ###)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If he wasn’t a hypocrite he would have resigned rather than retired and there would have been no issue for him to feel guilt ridden about.


12 posted on 06/08/2014 6:40:05 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (If you lined up the best and brightest of this administration, you'd just have a string of dim bulbs)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This is almost as heartbreaking as those pleas from Warren Buffett for the federal government to raise his tax rates.


13 posted on 06/08/2014 6:40:16 PM PDT by Iron Munro (The Obamas' Black skin has morphed into Teflon thanks to the Obama Media)
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To: Delta 21

I hear you, brother. Thanks for your time which I hope was well spent.


14 posted on 06/08/2014 6:40:35 PM PDT by 22202NOVA (<Insert pithy, sardonic comment here.>)
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To: Delta 21
http://www.navycs.com/charts/1968-military-pay-chart.html

'68 is the year I got out as a Marine Corporal E-4....we sure as sh*t weren't in it for the gold....

15 posted on 06/08/2014 6:41:22 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (It ain't a "hashtag"....it's a damn pound sign. ###)
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To: RetiredTexasVet

Excellent point. He could have done that, or just not processed the application for retired pay.


16 posted on 06/08/2014 6:41:50 PM PDT by 22202NOVA (<Insert pithy, sardonic comment here.>)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hang yourself, brave Tom. We fought at Arques today, and you were not there.

A journalist . Wow. What a surprise. Another yapping Chihuahua for the Democrat party. He’s trained to yap whenever his masters tell him to.

Yap, little dog, yap! Your masters are ordering you.

If he had any honor, he’d give back his journalist checks, too.


17 posted on 06/08/2014 6:43:47 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Our elected representatives will have to summon the courage to confront the costs of benefits and entitlements and make hard choices.

Let's take an axe to welfare, food stamps, Section 8, the multitude of bogus SSDI claims, etc. and then we can talk about cuts to the benefits that service members like myself actually worked for.

18 posted on 06/08/2014 6:44:59 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You are phony and a shill for what the administration is going to do next.


19 posted on 06/08/2014 6:49:14 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Those Democrat make-believe pig farmers.......did they earn their money? Did he yap at them?


20 posted on 06/08/2014 6:50:06 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Literally millions of welfare recipients draw more than some retirees and they did nothing for their benefits but fail at most everything they tried and give birth to illegitimate kids!!!


21 posted on 06/08/2014 6:52:04 PM PDT by ontap
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To: 22202NOVA

I think that the guy is being misleading at the very least. When he retired from the reserves and was under 60 years of age, he was not eligible for TRICARE, but he could buy TRICARE coverage for himself and his family. Once he turned 60, then he became eligible for TRICARE, but only for 5 years. At 65, he becomes eligible for Medicare and his TRICARE becomes TRICARE for LIFE, a second payer only.

That’s probably about right given his service. He wants his uninformed readers that he has received full healthcare free of charge ever since he first joined the military and that is just not true. But, he has an agenda, doesn’t he.


22 posted on 06/08/2014 6:52:38 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: Drew68

Let’s take an axe to welfare, food stamps, Section 8, the multitude of bogus SSDI claims, etc. and then we can talk about cuts to the benefits that service members like myself actually worked for.


Amen. Not to mention benefits to illegals who have done nothing for this country.


23 posted on 06/08/2014 6:53:21 PM PDT by rbg81
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To: centurion316

Nailed it. He doth protest too much.


24 posted on 06/08/2014 6:54:58 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: ontap

Yoda say “Try? There is no try. Only Collect, or Collect not.”


25 posted on 06/08/2014 6:59:23 PM PDT by bakeneko
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; blueyon; KitJ; T Minus Four; xzins; CMS; The Sailor; ab01; txradioguy; ...

Retiree ping.


26 posted on 06/08/2014 7:00:51 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Resist in place.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I am a gray-area retiree (Commander, same as Lt Col in the article) and I will start drawing retirement in 5 years. I think the retirement benefits are pretty good but I did sacrifice a lot of weekends (some in non-pay status) and summers. My understanding is that TriCare is a pain-in-the ass to deal with, the docs I work with cringe at the thought of getting some procedures pre-approved. TriCare is only the primary payor until one is Medicare eligible.


27 posted on 06/08/2014 7:03:55 PM PDT by wfu_deacons
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To: ErnBatavia
"...Marine Corporal E-4...weren't in it for the gold..."

Likely story..

IIRC, Corporal's pay was $190/month, Combat Pay was $66/month, Overseas Pay was, perhaps, $11/month.

Man, we were rolling in the dough! BIG BUCKS!

Plus free C-Rats!

/s

28 posted on 06/08/2014 7:07:50 PM PDT by BwanaNdege ( "For those who have fought for it, Life bears a savor the protected will never know")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

All military retirees are veterans, but not all veterans are military retirees.

Serving 4 and out is absolutely honorable. Serving 20+ has additional benefits. IF you make it.


29 posted on 06/08/2014 7:09:42 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So this idiot wants his experience to drive retiree benefit policy for everyone?


30 posted on 06/08/2014 7:15:23 PM PDT by Gamecock (#BringTheAdultsBackToDC)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I served 22 years, 1977-1999, in the Reserves without an overseas deployment. But I did not have enough “good” retirement years so I get nothing, nada, zip. I got lots of retirement points on bad years (those where I was in the Reserve Control Group instead of a Reserve Unit) but one needs 20 good years for the retirement. I’m not complaining but just mentioning not all of us that put in lots of time fighting the battles at Forts Lewis, McCoy, Knox, Hood, etc are not on TriCare or putting any pressure on the budget by drawing retirement. We did not deploy but we often trained those who did. I was combat arms (12A) and ready and willing to go if called upon.

The benefit I did get was the salary at the time which did indeed help me out.


31 posted on 06/08/2014 7:19:10 PM PDT by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American than a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

James Haltom · Richmond Community College

I spent 22 years on active duty. I was never in a Combat Zone but I was deployed to several “Eminent Danger” areas. I was never assigned to the same post twice and had 9 PCS moves. I had 2 tours to Germany and 1 to Korea. While I traveled the globe I lost one sister and one parent. This aside, I think I did an outstanding job in a small field where promotions at the top were slow but I did retire as an E-7. My pension is what it is. Is it too much or too small? Who can say? Did I earn it, oh yea! As for an LTC with some kind of guilt complex I say “Shut up”. If you feel you didn’t earn your keep, turn it in, give it away, write a check and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. Just don’t whine to the rag called the Washington Post and have a pity party at the expense of real soldiers. You might have made the grade of LTC (the most useless of all ranks) but you never lived the life of a soldier and for that I’m thankful. Looking forward to more tales of your lackluster career. Mean while use some of you Tricare health benefits for psychological counseling.

Reply · Like · 5 · Follow Post · Yesterday at 17:58


32 posted on 06/08/2014 7:32:51 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Dear Tom,

If you think its too generous just return your retirement and opt of TRICARE and STFU. Some of us who did something useful earned that retirement pay while your jolly fat ass hid behind a desk.


33 posted on 06/08/2014 8:07:48 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Forgive but don't forget)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There’s always one in a minority who will make the loudest noise. I’m sure those who spent most of their time in the Reserves spent a lot of time during the weeks of attending the so called HQ nights*, where even though you were there every week, you never got paid for it. When you retired you only received 25% of a regular’s retirement check. It was a payment that was earned, it wasn’t stolen, and no fraud was committed, as is the case in many of the government payment recipients these days.

*25 years of HQ nights is in the area of 1300 drills that were unpaid attendance.

Reserves and ARNG units in my time were a haven for those who feared the draft, but many of the units had prior service veterans as CO’s and Senior NCO’s.


34 posted on 06/08/2014 8:34:59 PM PDT by Bringbackthedraft (2016 an election or a coronation of a Queen? I'm sure we'll be told to eat cake.)
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To: wfu_deacons

I’m a military retiree’s widow, not old enough for Tricare for Life, and I have and use Tricare Prime and let me assure you, they have not been a pain-in-the-ass to deal with.
I’m sure there are exceptions for some people, but Tricare has really taken care of me and mine. I’m fighting cancer for the second time and they are doing everything that I need them to do and have given me a LOT of care straight through from the first time I had it, two years ago. My doctors (and they are legion) don’t mind it at all, are glad to have Tricare patients.


35 posted on 06/08/2014 8:41:24 PM PDT by Shimmer1 (The love that dare not speak its name is now the love that will not shut its *bleeping* mouth)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, she should decline to accept them if she does not need them to leave more for those that do.

Right, this will happen immediately after Warren Buffet and Bill Clinton send the IRS all of the extra tax money that they are so eager pay.


36 posted on 06/08/2014 9:12:21 PM PDT by rdcbn
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To: Delta 21

A Master Chief and a LTCOL ain’t that far apart, considering the educational requirements for an officer. Both live comfortably.


37 posted on 06/08/2014 9:18:47 PM PDT by Ace's Dad (Proud grandpa of a newly born "Brit Chick" named Poppy Loucks!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So he’s taking money he doesn’t need, that other vets need?


38 posted on 06/08/2014 9:26:05 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Well I only did 20 years, 17 days.....

The contract I came in on (like every one else did) provided for Medical, Dental,(which was changed thanks to those morons in Congress) and a retirement check (E6 retirement is nice but it ain't no O5 retirement check) so if this clown is complaining refuse the dam check, send to to the treasury.

39 posted on 06/08/2014 10:01:08 PM PDT by SERE_DOC ( “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” TJ.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

A retired Army LTC and the best he can do is “freelance writer” writing for a commie liberal rag like the WAPO? It sounds to me like somebody might have a few “issues”.


40 posted on 06/08/2014 10:34:51 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Obama's smidgens are coming home to roost.)
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To: BwanaNdege

“Man, we were rolling in the dough!”

In 1968, I was E-5, over two, married and got a separate quarters allowance. My take-home was right around $350. We ate a lot of macaroni.


41 posted on 06/08/2014 10:55:43 PM PDT by beelzepug (You can't fix a broken washing machine by washing more expensive clothes in it.)
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To: TADSLOS
Tom, make your personal guilt trip reparations check out to: Department of the US Treasury. Make sure you calculate every single dime of retirement and associated military benefits into that payback, so you can live with a clear conscience.

Pretty much what I was thinking-he needs to shit or get off the pot.

42 posted on 06/08/2014 11:17:19 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: wfu_deacons

The author is cherry picking his numbers. As I show below, Tricare retired beneficiaries pay more than just the $547.68 annual family premium.

Most employer based insurance have comparable co-pays but their employee’s pay is a lot higher than a retiree retainer pay, (remember, the article is comparing military retiree medical benefits cost to civilians who are still in the workforce and the cost of their medical benefits).

(A typical retired E-7 with 20 years of service receives close to $19,000 annually in retired retainer pay, so the cost of Tricare is a larger percentage of his/her retired retainer pay than the percentage cost of the employer sponsored medical benefits is to a civilian employee).

Also, if the retiree is still in the workforce and the employer offers health insurance the retiree must take it. He/she cannot opt out of the employer plan in order to use only Tricare. Tricare then becomes 2nd payer to the employer plan.

Tricare for Life makes Medicare the primary payer and Tricare 2nd payer. Also, to be qualified for Tricare for Life, the beneficiary must have Medicare Part B, (monthly premium is $104.90 [$1,258.80 annually], or higher, depending on income level).

Tricare Prime vs Tricare Standard for retired beneficiaries.

Tricare Prime has an annual premium;

Individual: $273.84 per year
Family: $547.68 per year

Plus you pay;

Ambulance Services-$20 per occurance

Ambulatory (Same Day) Surgery-$25 per visit

Behavioral Health:
Outpatient-$25 (individual visit)$17 (group visit)
Inpatient-$40 per day (no charge for separately billed professional charges)

Clinical Preventive Services-$0

Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics & Supplies-20% of the negotiated fee

Emergency Room Visit-$30 per visit

Home Health Care-$0

Hospice Care-$0

Hospitalization-$11 per day ($25 minimum)

Lab & X-Ray Services-$12 per visit (unless billed as a clinical preventive service)

Maternity Care-Office visits and hospitalization and a hospital. (One global fee): $11 per day ($25 minimum)

Officed visits for delivery in a TRICARE-authorized birthing center: $25 per visit

Office visits for delivery planned at home or other setting: $12 per visit

Newborn Care-$11 per day ($25 minimum)

Outpatient Visit-$12 per visit

Skilled Nursing Care-$11 per day ($25 minimum)

If you use a non-network provider you pay;

Point-of-Service Fees: When you use the point-of-service option, you’ll pay:

Point-of-service fees instead of your regular copayment
Any other fees charged by non-network providers.
These fees don’t apply to your annual catastrophic cap.
You must pay this amount before cost sharing begins for outpatient services.

Outpatient deductble;

Individual; $300
Family; $600

Cost share;

Outpatient services: 50% of Tricare allowed charges
Hospitalization: 50% of Tricare allowed charges

Pharmacy;

At Military Hospital: (if the drug is available; most non-formulary drugs are not available), $0.00

Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy:
You can get up to a 90-day supply for most prescriptions.
$0 for generic formulary drugs
$13 for brand-name formulary drugs
$43 for non-formulary drugs, unless you establish medical necessity

Network pharmacy:
You can get up to a 30-day supply of most prescriptions.
$5 for generic formulary drugs
$17 for brand-name formulary drugs
$44 for non-formulary drugs, unless you establish medical necessity

Non-network pharmacy:
You’ll pay more to have prescriptions filled at non-network pharmacies, including host nation pharmacies overseas. Your costs depend on your plan and the type of drug.
If you use a Prime option, you’ll pay a 50% cost share after the point of service deductible is met.

Tricare Standard:

Retired beneficiaries pay $150.00 per member or $300.00 per family deductible annually.

Retired beneficiaries then pay a co-pay of 25% of Tricare allowed charges. (However. if the provider does not file the claim you will pay the provider cash and then file your own claim. In which case, if Tricare allowed charges are less than the provider billed, (and the amount you paid at the time of service), you will only get reimbursed by Tricare 75% of the allowed amount.

If, for example, the provider will not file the claim with Tricare, (this is happening more frequently), and billed you $1,000.00 but Tricare only allowed $750.00, you will absorb the $250.00 difference between the billed and allowed amount, and then Tricare will reimburse you $562.50. Your total cost would be $437.50, or 43.75% of the billed amount, (not the 25% co-pay that you are required to pay).

Even providers that file Tricare claims for Tricare Standard beneficiaries are allowed to bill 15% above the Tricare allowed amount, but anything above is called balance billing which is illegal.

And now DOD wants to increase the Tricare Prime premium to be more equal to that paid by the civilian sector. They have already increased the pharmacy fees and want to increase them even more. Many doctors and hospitals are refusing to accept Tricare. This is especially true with the highly specialized physicians and specialty hospitals, such as cancer centers.


43 posted on 06/08/2014 11:27:52 PM PDT by usnavy_cop_retired (Retiree in the P.I. living as a legal immigrant)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I also served from 1985-1993 , the one fact this jerk fails to mention is that for ALL of those years he was “government property. What this means is that at ANY time he could be put anywhere his superiors saw fit. Another real factor are deaths that occur during training. Our republic generates so much wealth that those who literally sign away there lives DESERVE this . Personally I will only (maybe) utilize a VA loan...this is the only thing that interests me as I was in the medical field and want nothing to do with there services in that realm , I am quite capable to address that when the need arises. Again I cannot stress enough the feeling of being owned by the government and subject to their whim and God forbid you upset an officer ....can ruin your day,month or year . Anyone who has served active duty knows what I mean. What a terrible article full of non and half truths.


44 posted on 06/09/2014 12:38:18 AM PDT by mythenjoseph (Seperation of powers)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps and almost 26 years in the Air National Guard. I spent a lot of time away from my family and I did my time in war zones, to include Kosovo and Afghanistan. I upheld my end of the bargain, now I expect the same in return.
45 posted on 06/09/2014 1:04:09 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Progressives spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I did 18 yrs in the Navy - early out in 96 - and the closest I came to a combat zone was on the Indy off the coast of Grenada in 83 and than still on the Indy as the carrier provided air support in Lebanon in 83. 10 of my 18 yrs were on ships. When I talk to vets - especially USMC vets - I downplay my time in the USN. My job was not strenuous but as an enlisted, I spent a good deal of time making officers like the one who wrote this diatribe look good.
46 posted on 06/09/2014 3:35:54 AM PDT by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: digger48
oops...”he”

You may have been correct the first time.

47 posted on 06/09/2014 4:16:52 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Exterminate the terrorist savages, everywhere.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Less than 1 percent of our current population ever serve in the military. Only a small percentage of that do the amount of time required to get retirement benefits. How much does this affect the budget. Hey, you want to go after someone? How about attacking the federal employees generous retirement benefits? There are far more of them than the military retirees.

One thing he says is true about Military personnel. There are a lot more rear echelon types in the military than the general public knows. I remember years ago as a Sergeant seeing a Master Sergeant (E-8, real high up in the enlisted ranks for those non military types) in the bank in his Charlies. He only had a good conduct ribbon and one sea service deployment ribbon. Which meant he was some office type who in probably 15 years or more in the Marines had never done anything. Seeing those kind of things always pissed me off because of all the combat and deployments I had done.


48 posted on 06/09/2014 4:50:30 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: 7thson
"I downplay my time in the USN."

You shouldn't. If you spent 18 years of your time on ships, then I know you did a lot of deployments. As a jarhead doing WestPACs in the Gator Navy, I used to feel bad that while on ship we never did much and you guys in the Navy used to work like dogs....
49 posted on 06/09/2014 4:53:05 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: 7thson

Sorry, I mean to say if you spent 10 of your 18 years on ship, you did a lot of deployments. Again, don’t feel bad. You did more than your share.


50 posted on 06/09/2014 4:54:18 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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